The Nationals Steve Cansdell celebrates his win.
The Nationals Steve Cansdell celebrates his win.

Cansdell stands by riot comment

MEMBER for Clarence Steve Cansdell wishes he had moderated his language when he made a Facebook comment about the result of the Yamba riot trial, but he stands by the sentiment.

In the comment, which The Daily Examiner will not quote, Mr Cansdell is strongly critical of the magistrate hearing the six-week trial of 10 people charged following the riot on February 14 last year.

“In the spur of the moment I bloody felt that way,” Mr Cansdell said, describing his feelings when he heard that all but one of the charges against the accused had been dismissed.

“Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but at the spur of the moment I felt that way.”

Mr Cansdell found it hard to believe the magistrate could dismiss all the evidence from a situation he likened to a war zone.

“They could have got a better case, but to say I can't believe any of the police evidence and believe everything the other side says is, well, the fact is a police van was torched and police were rocked with tiles and bricks and bottles,” he said.

“To close the case and dismiss all charges is just an easy way out.”

Mr Cansdell said that although his comments flirted with being in contempt of court, they reflected public opinion.

“We've been inundated with letters and emails from people disgusted with the total anarchy and contempt of law and order from these people,” he said.

The Judicial Commission of NSW website contains the following explanation of the attitude to these sort of comments:

“Contempt which consists of scandalising the court will be exercised only in exceptional cases because ordinarily the good sense of the community is a sufficient safeguard in curbing undue and improper criticisms of judges.”



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